The other day I happened upon a story that told the tale of a bookseller's most memorable customer.
The encounter took place one ordinary day when an elderly woman with an adorably eccentric and whimsical view of life sidled up to the counter to purchase some books and art supplies.
As the bookseller and older woman conversed, a young man with a large stack of text books came up behind them.
Upon spotting this young man, the older woman insisted that he place the textbooks upon the counter so that she could purchase them for him.
The baffled and bewildered young man attempted to decline the generous offer, but to no avail.
The older woman dismissed his objections and insisted the bookseller add his books to her tab.
For good measure, she also noted that the young man needed some chocolate and the latest Harry Potter book and so that too was added to the pile of goods.
As the young man thanked and hugged the woman for her generosity, he continued to ask,
"Why? Why are you doing this?"
To which she responded,
"It's important to be kind.
You can't know all the times that you've hurt people in tiny, significant ways.
It's easy to be cruel without meaning to be.
There's nothing you can do about that.
But you can choose to be kind.
The young man smiled and thanked the older woman once more before leaving with his gifts.
Upon collecting her own things, the elderly woman shared one last thing with the bookseller,
"My son is a homeless meth addict.
I don't know what I did.
I see that boy and I see the man my son could have been if someone had chosen to be kind to him at just the right time."
In hearing this story I was struck not only with the elderly woman's quiet recognition of the damage we unwittingly do to others but also of its' anecdote; kindness paid forward.
The true gift bestowed upon the young man was the act of kindness.
That is what will be remembered.
Kindness need not cost money nor time nor even much effort...
it simply requires a gesture or word or act freely given with a kind heart.
But be forewarned...
giving the gift of kindness bears its' own kind of reward.
So...feel free to gift generously.
Please feel free to comment and share!
If you would like to hear the full story, you may do so below: